Mike Locksley provides team update after Saturday’s scrimmage

With the first spring game for Maryland football set for April 29, head coach Mike Locksley is encouraged by the development of his team in their first scrimmage on Saturday.

Although it was a non-contact scrimmage, it was the first opportunity for Locksley and his coaching staff to see his team in game-action.

“Our practices, the way they’re formatted, they’re always about development,” Locksley said. “The spring time is where we do put a lot more emphasis on the fundamental pieces of the game. You see us with longer individual periods, more group and individual work. … The spring gives us an opportunity to have a dry run of our installs and all three phases of football, so that when we do come back in the summer, we can go and hit on all cylinders pretty quickly.”

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Billy Edwards Jr. will get the bulk of the work as the backup of Taulia Tagovailoa, who is returning to Maryland for his fourth season.

“A guy like Billy Edwards played a lot of football for us a year ago,” Locksley said. “Some meaningful snaps in some critical times, so what we’d like to see Billy continue to do is his development in our system and his knowledge within the system and winning in the pocket, which we know he has the skillset to do.”

Edwards Jr. appeared in seven games in 2022, starting the Oct. 22 victory over Northwestern in place of an injured Tagovailoa, as well as the first drive of the Dec. 30 bowl victory over NC State. The experienced he gained in some big-time moments a year ago will pay dividends come the 2023 season.

Tagovailoa, who had a record-breaking 2022 season, will look to continue his development on the deep-ball aspect of his game, an area where Locksley thinks they “left a lot of meat on the bone” last season.

Staying on offense, the departure of C.J Dippre to Alabama has left a hole at the tight end position, but Locksley is pleased with the development of some of the younger players on his roster.

“Obviously having an opportunity to get a guy like Rico [Walker] here early for spring practice has given him an opportunity to kind of acclimate to what we do,” Locksley said. “Preston Howard continues to improve with each and every rep he gets.”

One familiar face in the tight end room is Corey Dyches, the redshirt junior who caught 39 passes for 494 yards and three touchdowns a season ago, earning 2022 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors.

His productivity will lead to more opportunities in 2023, as he has a chance to develop under newly-hired Kevin Sumlin, who will handle the tight end room on top of his co-offensive coordinator position.

While Sumlin may be new to Maryland, he entered this position already familiar with the speed and style of Maryland football.

“He was a guy that came up and spent August training camp a year or two ago with us in kind of a consultant role where he just kind of watched,” he said.

The development will continue as the Terps inch closer to their first spring matchup.

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